Bryan Caplan  

Can Singapore Understand Biology and Economics at the Same Time?

The Psychology of Gran Tori... The Pattern...
From Singapore Politics Under the People's Action Party:
Lee Kuan Yew believes in eugenics.  Among others, he has been influenced by Professor H.J. Eysenck, an expert on measuring intelligence who visited Singapore in 1987.  Lee states that his views are a result of observation, empirical enquiry, and study.  "I started off believing all men are equal.  Now I know that's the most unlikely thing to have ever been..."  Commenting on the controversial Murray and Bernstein [sic] book, he opined "the Bell Curve is a fact of life."  He states that the relevance of the Bell Curve became obvious to him by the late 1960s when he could see that equal opportunity did not bring about equal results.  In a 1983 National Day rally address he said that 80 percent of talent and intelligence were inherited, and he lamented that the poorer and less well educated around the world have more children... When asked if other PAP ministers shared his views on eugenics, he replied, "They know it isn't poppycock."
Note that despite this refreshing honesty about human genetics, Singapore still has an unusually open immigration policy.   Is it possible that Singapore's leaders realize that the standard eugenic policy recommendations are biologically informed but economically illiterate?   As I've explained before, if you understand comparative advantage, human biodiversity is an argument for trade - not the insensitive, cruel, and occasionally monstrous policies to which eugenicists traditionally gravitate.  

Alas, Singapore's efforts to discourage fertility among the poor suggest that even in Singapore, people have trouble understanding biology and economics at the same time...

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (21 to date)
Understand both bio and econ writes:


To the frustration of many commenters, you have never really engaged with the application of your own work and Amy Chua's "World on Fire" to U.S. immigration. Will a continuation of current and Obama-supported potential policies (which lead to very large numbers of low-IQ voters after future amnesties and increases in family-based immigration) undermine the political balance that sustains America's high levels of economic freedom (with the ensuing global benefits)?

You've usually talked past the best arguments on the other side. Singapore takes in high-IQ and skilled permanent immigrants, while bringing in low-IQ guest workers and using draconian means to ensure that they leave without voting, becoming a drain on the public fisc (e.g. by having children), or committing crime. In other words, they take all the sensible measures to block negative externalities of immigrants on the native population (LKY is obviously not a cosmopolitan).

They don't allow unlimited immigration from the surrounding countries, because they have seen the anti-Chinese riots, killings, expropriations, racial preferences, punitive taxation and regulation, in other SE Asian countries. Indeed, one large flow of skilled immigrants to Singapore has been Indonesian-Chinese fleeing the consequences of their minority status. Lee Kuan Yew would not permit a large Malay majority in the electorate/citizenry, any more than he would permit a large Latino-African-American majority in the U.S. if he were running American immigration policy.

Now, here's a challenge for immigration opponents. Consider a scenario where the United States abolished birthright citizenship, deported visa violators, stopped low-skilled chain migration through family reunification provisions, prevented child migration (except with large bonds to pay for the kid's public schooling costs, etc), cut off welfare benefits (this would probably require immigrants to show proof of health insurance to stop emergency room service), and ensured that primarily high-IQ immigrants became voting citizens. Under those circumstances I think the world as a whole would greatly benefit from the U.S. taking in hundreds of millions of high-ability voting citizens and lower-ability guest workers, numbers comparable to the Singaporean flows. Would you support such a policy?

Understand both bio and econ writes:

Also, what's with the urgency to increase population soon? If we have good policies and develop advanced technologies well, there are billions of years and billions of solar systems available to support very large populations. Adding low-IQ voters to the electorate who will shift the balance of political power towards global catastrophic risks (voting for totalitarianism, failing to sufficiently support preventive measures) gets an infinitesimal benefit in bringing people into being now rather than later, at the price of endangering billions of billions of billions of times as many future person-years.

Brandon Berg writes:

The problem is that people with low IQs tend to produce negative externalities. They're more likely to vote for bad policies, they commit more crime, they're more likely to become public beneficiaries, and they're less likely to contribute enough in taxes to pay the marginal costs they impose on other government programs.

If we lived in an ideal world with an ironclad guarantee of a minimalist government, I would agree with you. But as it is, it's not at all clear to me that the net marginal benefit of more low-IQ people is positive.

bjk writes:

This cynic libertarian says "politicians always get captured by special interests, therefore they can never be trusted, all government spending is some sort of log rolling or payoff." The idealist libertarian says "imagine that there was no welfare state, no ethnic politics or special interests, then imagine the ideal policy, that's what we should do." Do these two libertarians ever meet in the hall? Ever shake hands? Even when the two tendencies exist in the same libertarian?

Joseph K writes:

I think the basic misunderstanding Singapore's leaders have is in thinking they can pick winners in the biological arena. It just like the way that governments try to pick winners in the economic arena by subsidizing them and such. Biology can say some people are smarter, but it can't say smarter is better. Maybe some types of smarts are more valuable than others. Maybe success is more about self-discipline and a good work ethic than smarts. An understanding of biology doesn't help you decide who should be chosen to reproduce

In addition, by picking winners you're decreasing diversity, which weakens competitive pressure, and threatens to weaken the entire economy.

When we talk about externalities associated with poverty, we should also remember to distinguish absolute poverty from relative poverty. As the poor get wealthier (though still remaining relatively poor) the externalities decrease. And if you bring the whole country down economically with bad policy, you threaten to increase the number of genuinely poor and the negative externalities thereby.

Alex J. writes:

I wonder if advocates of filtering immigrants would accept robust protection of freedom of association as a compromise. In other words, allow subdivisions to discriminate. If you want to be in a majority, and the movement of other people prevents this, the law could allow you to remain in the majority in a smaller community. Right now, this is illegal, of course, but the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could've been limited to preventing discrimination by the government.

gappy writes:

I am puzzled. I don't know much about research on intelligence beyond cocktail-party level discussions, but there are many assumptions that Caplan makes over and over in his posts on heritability and education, namely:

1. "Intelligence" is highly heritable. By this he probably means "Intelligence is what tests test", to use Lippman's quote. The assumptions here are that a) IQ tests give an accurate picture of intelligence; b) IQ-measured intelligence is inherited. I see weak evidence on both accounts.

2. IQ-measured intelligence is a determinant of contribution to society. Lack thereof determines social deviant behavior. This is the Bell Curve hypothesis. Good luck on proving that one.

I understand this is a blog, which is a sort of technology-enabled cocktail-party conversation. But Caplan should make the extra effort to write an extensive post or link to a research paper detailing his position. I feel that these interventions are prejudging the issue, mostly because it fits well into a (superficial) libertarian framework: since Nature matters, who need a Nurturer (read superficially: the Government)?

ajb writes:

Singapore's immigration policies are more "open" precisely because they are biased towards the higher skilled groups. There are two tracks. One leading to permanent residency which has strong preferences for those with advanced degrees and who are ethnically Chinese. In contrast, there is a temporary worker program that is quite open but is also credibly committed to kicking out the workers after x number of years. So these temporary workers are temporary in a way that US low skilled immigrants are not.

If the US could institute a credible temporary worker program with low probability that the unskilled and their families would become permanent residents/citizens while biasing green cards in favor of the educated and those from high IQ regions of the world, I think it would be a lot easier to gain support for immigration reform in the US, even among restrictionists.

Zdeno writes:

Gappy: Sure, intelligence is a squishy concept that we haven't perfectly nailed down. But however imperfect IQ tests are at measuring our conceptualization of intelligence, they are strongly correlated with a crapload of things that most people would agree are indicative of smarts: scholastic aptitude, job performance, reading comprehension, vocabulary, mathematical ability, income etc etc etc. Check out the wikipedia article on "Intelligence." Also, contrary to your cocktail party conversation partners, the heritability of IQ is somewhere in the .6 ->.8 range.

And regarding your second point, low IQ is also strongly related to a tendency toward violence, impulsive behaviour, poverty, poor health and so on. How is that hard to prove? IQ is primarily heritable, so it is exogenous. IQ is closely related to social deviancy.

Anyways, do some clicking through wikipedia and see what comes of it. Also, I'm very interested in any evidence or arguments you have against 1) the heritability of IQ or 2) the link between low-IQ and deviancy. As I understand it, they are basically settled questions, although we can still quibble on the degrees of heritability and such. But I have been wrong before.

Zdeno writes:

And one thing I DO agree with you on is that Bryan should write a post spelling out his views on race, IQ and all that fun stuff. I mean come on Bryan, you're already a non-Obama-supporting, bailout-opposing anarcho-libertarian. Is it really possible for mainstream society to shun you even MORE for your views? You're a SEASTEADING advocate for chrissake.

Currently, it's so impolite to suggest that there may be different averages for traits across races that the world falls neatly into 1) Those who refuse to dispute all-men-are-created-equal blank slatism, and 2) White supremacists. Steve Sailer is the refreshingly honest exception, but I occasionally find myself questioning even his motives, particularly in his writings about Israel. The world needs moderate, rational people who aren't scumbags to speak up.

Anyways, all I'm saying is it would be a big step towards intellectual honesty, and a blow against political correctness if a highly-respected blogger were to come out and say, "look, this is what the science appears to say. Can we please take a deep breath and stop pillorying any public figures who admit it?"

Understand both bio and econ writes:

"Is it really possible for mainstream society to shun you even MORE for your views?"

Yes. Anarcho-libertarianism is seen as oddball and amusing by many. In contrast, adopting the views shared by most intelligence experts (, that portions of racial differences in intelligence are due to genetics (or even just drawing attention to the established fact that the differences are large, economically and politically relevant, and intractable over generations and around the world) tends to result in academic lynching.

On the other hand, Bryan now has tenure, so he doesn't *have* to lie or hold his tongue. He can cite the American Psychological Association on the importance and validity of IQ and the size and persistence of racial gaps. Then he can cite the Snyderman and Rothman survey, and say that expert opinion (when speaking anonymously and not under attack) believes that racial gaps are substantially genetic in origin. Bryan generally advocates a presumption of deference to expert opinion, so that's sufficient for him to say "this is probably the case, although I remain ready to change my mind if the experts change their minds."

One somewhat more dangerous topic would be an analysis of the Rushton-Jensen review article ( and the rather weak replies ( it received in PPPL. The converging evidence presented there is crushing, and the rebuttals have relied on ad hominems or left most of the article untouched. Anyone who does not respond to the neuroanatomical data is not being honest with you.

1. Brain size predicts IQ within each racial group.

2. There are differences in brain size between groups, such that if the between-group relation between brain size and IQ matched the within-group relation, 5 points of the Black-White IQ gap would be explained (perhaps more if MRI measurements were used, gross brain size explains a sixth of IQ variation, but MRI measurements explain half).

3. If you match blacks and whites for brain size the IQ gap diminishes, but if you match them for IQ the brain size gap is eliminated. This is exactly what you would expect if brain size contributed to IQ in the same way in both groups, and was one of several factors affecting total IQ. In contrast, when you match men and women for IQ, the women have smaller brain sizes, reflecting different functional organization and structure.

4. Brain size is highly heritable, and the sizes of regions detected by MRI that influence IQ are among the most heritable (70-90%).

No one has come up with an environmentalist explanation of these data, they just make ad hominem attacks and refuse to talk about it, or mention the male-female differences in brain size (which have different functional ability profiles and very different genetic control of brain development, so an analogy between racial and sex differences means believing that the architecture of brains differs dramatically between races).

Grant writes:

Understand both bio and econ,

I hear what you are saying (and hope Byran responds), but wouldn't an easier (if perhaps less politically possible) solution be to let everyone in and control who can vote and receive welfare? Geographical proximity has many economic advantages, especially relating to uplifting the poor (by giving them access to our more successful institutions).

Voluntary association seems to prevent most of the noted externalities from being serious issues. One can simply avoid the "bad" parts of town, and only very rarely does violence from one culture and ethnic group seem to spill out into more prosperous society.

I'm confident that even without any guarantee they would be allowed to vote here or receive any positive rights whatsoever, many of the world's poor would still immigrate to America. Its all about giving them the right institutional environment to be productive and peaceful (or maybe more often, letting them create that environment for themselves while preventing them from being a burden on others).

Understand both bio and econ writes:

"but wouldn't an easier (if perhaps less politically possible) solution be to let everyone in and control who can vote and receive welfare?"

Grant, I agree that there are large benefits to poor immigrants, and that these should count equally in our deliberations with those of current citizens (if we are utilitarians), but I don't know what you mean by 'easier' independent of politics. The difficulties are almost entirely political for any migration policy. The democratic zeitgeist is strongly opposed to a permanent class of disenfranchised individuals.

The biggest difference between guest worker programs and permanent immigration of people unable to vote or receive welfare would be the kids. The parents will tend to be grateful for their opportunities, and compare their prosperity to that in their home countries, but the kids will compare their status to citizens and be resentful. We see this in America, where crime rates are very low among Mexican migrant workers (both because of this effect and because they tend to be too old for violent crime) but their kids and grandkids commit crime at several times the anglo rate. That resentful underclass has the potential for violent revolution.

Also, migrants have a home country that they can be deported to in the event things turn out badly, but their children do not, so the host country has fewer levers to improve their behavior and would bear the costs of imprisonment for violation of the law. Further, it is even more politically difficult to avoid spending money on public services for children than it is to avoid spending on parents.

"Voluntary association seems to prevent most of the noted externalities from being serious issues. One can simply avoid the "bad" parts of town, and only very rarely does violence from one culture and ethnic group seem to spill out into more prosperous society."

In the Philippines or Indonesia or many places in Latin America, the wealthy higher-IQ minorities have to build gated communities or use other expensive security measures to survive. Consider the inefficiencies of 'white flight' in America: the explosion of black violence drove out much of the population to the suburbs, resulting in a loss of enormous network effects and economies of scale/density.

Zimbabwe (and South Africa, which is rapidly following in its footsteps) suggest that such violence can drive out the skilled minority and collapse the country, leaving everyone worse off.

guthrie writes:

Ok, Zdeno and Understand..., yes, there are studies that correlate IQ and genetics, that brain size is heritable, and what have you.

But does that mean that IQ cannot change? Are we looking at a static picture of where the study subjects are at the moment, or are there further studies that include a time dynamic (I didn’t’ see this aspect in the articles the links provided)? Have there been studies that follow children growing into adulthood? If IQ doesn’t change, does that mean we have the same number at grade 1 as we do when we’re 70? If it does change, even incrementally, doesn’t that cast doubt on how static IQ is to begin with? How can we be so sure these correlative studies suggest causation?

Aren't there enough examples, both contemporary and throughout history, of men and women from downtrodden (i.e., poor, crime-ridden, unhealthy, violent, ostensively 'low IQ') circumstances displaying over-average intelligence? If low IQ begets low IQ, would these examples even exist?

How remarkable were Einstein’s parents? Or Mozart’s? Or Newton’s?

How does one's social and societal value get linked to one’s IQ?

And (apologies, here’s where I get ugly) what the crap is this deal of lumping 'talent' in with IQ?! I only mention this because it’s there in the excerpt Bryan provided. There are copious examples of autistic and otherwise ‘challenged’ people who demonstrate amazing capacity in artistic and mathematic realms. None of the studies mentioned either by Bryan, or other commentators here have included ‘talent’ in with their IQ focus. It seems presumed that they are inexorably linked, but I beg to differ. IQ may measure how one assimilates and organizes facts (or if one can take tests), but can’t tell you if they can play ‘The A Train’, or write a poem or play, or even ride a bike.

Plus, for what it’s worth, I have successfully taught improvisational acting to otherwise ‘talentless’ individuals on a fairly consistent basis. I am persuaded by my experience, therefore, that talent as such is learned, and is only as inherited as ‘walking upright’ or prehensile thumbs.

I agree that ‘all men are created equal’ is obtuse and isn’t scientific. It’s tempting to blindly defend such sentiment (and attack perceived threats) just because it sounds nice. It’s equally tempting to uphold an unpopular set of facts, draw a broad conclusion and feel you are part of ‘the elite and esoteric’ set, bravely bucking convention and political correctness. I just don’t think anyone knows enough to state absolutely that IQ is static, that your ‘social value’ is determined by your IQ (and nothing else), and that intelligence or talent are fixed, undynamic parts of everyone’s psyche. As much as there is, it’s not enough.

Melancholy Aeon writes:

Please Bryan tell me you're pulling my leg with this one. Reassure me that like the clever person you are you really think g is meaningless and IQ measures nothing useful. I'm on my knees here. . .I beg you. Srsly.

Alex J. writes:

The wealthy and ruling elites in the Philippines and Indonesia are wealthy largely at the expense of the poor in their countries, largely unlike the wealthy in the West. They enrich themselves by restricting the opportunities of the masses, that's why they need to take extraordinary measures to protect themselves from the masses. This would remain the case even if their IQs were equal. The real issue is inequality in political power.

I doubt the "explosion of black violence" that led to white flight occurred because of an implosion of black IQs. I suspect the real issue here was social collapse brought about by welfarism and disdain of middle class values in reaction to prior oppression.

The explosion of violence in Zimbabwe was directed by the state against whites who held property, but also against blacks who opposed the regime. I doubt there was an IQ discrepancy between blacks in different political factions. The real issue was Mugabe's cronyism.

Perhaps low IQs lead to bad politics, but so much the worse for politics.

tim writes:

@ Guthrie,

Your trying really hard to not believe in IQ, but you're just creating strawmen.

If it[IQ] does change, even incrementally, doesn’t that cast doubt on how static IQ is to begin with?
Who says IQ doesn't change with age? It just doesn't change very much, and IQ isn't meant to measure small difference at the individual level.

If low IQ begets low IQ, would these examples even exist?
Beget in a statistical sense. I am confused how this isn't obvious.

How remarkable were Einstein’s parents? Or Mozart’s? Or Newton’s?
From a little google, Einstein's father (engineer) and uncle founded a company that sold electrical equipment (advanced technology in 1880).

Newton's uncle William Ayscough graduated with an M.A. from Cambridge University. This in the 1600's.

I have successfully taught improvisational acting to otherwise ‘talentless’ individuals on a fairly consistent basis.
What was your success criterion? Perhaps as their teacher you were biased in judging their success. Could you not teach most high IQ people to act?

I just don’t think anyone knows enough to state absolutely that IQ is static, that your ‘social value’ is determined by your IQ (and nothing else)
Proof by lack of knowledge. Could people say that IQ is 'mostly' static. Could social value be determined in 'large part' by IQ because IQ allows people to be doctors and engineers and just be generally interesting to talk to?

Why not allow employers to use IQ tests? They legally can't, see Griggs v. Duke Power Co. If the IQ test miss people's true 'talents', then those companies won't do as well. Let the marketplace decide how valuable IQ is.

guthrie writes:

Thank you, tim for your comments!

I’m not so sure I’m creating a straw man. I’m trying to raise questions against the concept that I’ll call ‘IQ as determinate’. It’s irritating to me that such broad conclusions are made based on such limited understanding of the brain, how it functions and how genetics factors in. Seriously, we know so little about how it all works, I simply don’t believe we can confidently say that IQ is the sole factor in determining success, social/societal value, or ability. I believe that this is overreaching, and is only one suggestion from the available evidence.

Plus your statement can be turned around. There are those it seems who believe so much in IQ that it becomes for them a foregone conclusion (unfortunately I think Bryan is close to this). All I’m saying is that we don’t know enough to say for sure.

“Who says IQ doesn’t change with age?”

That’s the point; no one does. There’s nothing in the admittedly limited research I’ve done that suggests that time has ever been considered in the study of IQ and how genetic heritance influences intelligence. Incomplete study and information led smart folks to conclude the earth was flat.

"It just doesn't change very much..."

Who says it doesn’t change very much? What does ‘very much’ mean? My issue is this: if there is any kind of change, at any time, wouldn’t it behoove us to find out how that change occurs to see if it can be acted upon by means other than biological growth? Especially if we’re going to be using IQ to decide how valuable people are?

Question: Does IQ competently measure traits such as drive, determination, tenacity, passion, confidence, initiative, desire, curiosity, stubbornness, bearing, compliance, motivation, horniness, intuition, tact, fidelity, honesty, compassion, (I’ll stop the list there)? Isn’t it fair to say that at least some, if not many of these traits might be just as necessary (in some un-quantified measure) for success as IQ, and ought to be at least considered when looking at someone’s potential in terms of societal value?

“Beget in a statistical sense”

I don’t believe the statistics are complete. I think there are enough exceptions (quantitatively and qualitatively) to the stats to question the stats.

A short list of smart people from inauspicious backgrounds:
Benjamin Franklin
George Washington Carver
Frederick Douglass
Abraham Lincoln
Ulysses S. Grant
Charlie Chaplin
Bill Clinton
Brian Tracey
John D. Rockefeller
Sheldon Adelson

Not an exhaustive list at all, but you get the idea…

“What was your success criterion? Perhaps as their teacher you were biased in judging their success. Could you not teach most high IQ people to act?”

Crap! Looking back, you’re right, you got me! I didn’t offer what I consider ‘successful’ in my statement. I’m glad to briefly elucidate...
Taking someone who believes him/herself to be ‘untalented’ and giving them the skills and confidence to perform in front of strangers, spontaneously inventing their own lines and characters. Would you agree that it takes a certain level of ‘talent’ to pull this off?

I think this is a decent plumb, and makes success more objective, yes?

I have done this often enough and with enough people that I’m suggesting (based solely on my experience, I admit) it can be done with anyone… that we already posses the ‘talent’ required to improvise on stage (or on film, on paper, on canvass... choose your medium), and all that’s required is the right method of training (read: training most conducive for the student) and the application of some initiative.

I’m also saying that IQ tests do not measure this ‘talent’, and thus I have confidence I can teach anyone regardless of IQ to act and improvise. In fact, it might be harder for someone with a higher IQ to improvise because the talents required do not call on factual command very often.

I continue to assert that IQ and ‘talent’ are two separate facets of life. There may be some crossover, but you can’t fathom one using the other.

“Proof by lack of knowledge.”

I don’t know you can apply this logical fallacy charge to my statements. I’m saying that to say ‘IQ determines social value’ is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I’m not aware of this evidence.

“Could people say that IQ is 'mostly' static.”

Based on what?

“Could social value be determined in 'large part' by IQ because IQ allows people to be doctors and engineers and just be generally interesting to talk to?”

Again, ‘large part’ based on what? And how large is that part? Does being a doctor or engineer mean you have a high IQ or could it mean you have enough money to pay for the education, and enough tenacity (a genetic trait?) to do whatever it takes for you to process and apply the information? I think there are too many variables for current IQ tests and IQ research to take into account.

BTW, I’ve known smart people who were bores (or asses) and not-so-smart folk who created parties wherever they went. Guess who I’d rather talk to!

“Let the marketplace decide how valuable IQ is.”

Our understanding of what IQ is and what kind of difference it makes is too limited. With what we know, I believe we are in danger of falling into the same eugenics trap that Duke power co, Lee Kuan Yew, and others fall into. We can trap people into circumstances that they don’t necessarily have to get roped into. Freedom for the market must have freedom for the individual, even if that individual scores a little lower on some test.

tim writes:


Please google 'age and IQ', it will answer a lot of questions you don't think anyone has asked.

I simply don’t believe we can confidently say that IQ is the sole factor in determining success, social/societal value, or ability.
No one says IQ is the sole determinate. People say many occupations require a high IQ, among other talents.

I don’t believe the statistics are complete. I think there are enough exceptions (quantitatively and qualitatively) to the stats to question the stats.
I don't mean to be rude, but this statement shows you are innumerate. Please solve this problem, if the average

guthrie writes:

That is rude, tim, and not appreciated. By writing 'innumerate' it seems as if you're saying not only am I uninformed but wouldn't understand if I tried. If you wrote it down and previewed it, how could you not mean to be insulting? If you want to have a discussion with someone, it would help if you didn't talk down to people.

I was freely admitting my lack of expertise and limited scope of my outside research, and welcomed the pointers you and others provided.

In the google search you suggested, I didn't see many of my questions asked, much less answered (I'll get back to you on what I found).

"No one says IQ is the sole determinate."

Look at Bryan's post. That's exactly what Lee Kuan Yew is saying. Bryan has suggested similar ideas in other posts. I'm asking how anyone can be so sure IQ DETERMINES value when the research on this is so limited.

I'm willing to learn and exchange ideas. If you're not, then your usefulness in a discussion is limited. Please solve this problem

guthrie writes:

Ok, I'm back...

Per your helpful suggestion, tim, I googled ‘age and IQ’… here is what I found:

The first article I came was a Science Daily article titled ‘Does IQ Drop With Age, Or Does Something Else Impact Intelligence’. It suggests perception impairment has a negative impact on IQ scores as one gets older. They weren’t able to answer the question weather or not perception is tied to IQ or the other way around. Plus, the test did not seem to include IQ tests of the older subjects from previous years. This test was static.

In the next article from the site IQ basics, we have this final statement, “The DSM now requires an assessment of a person's adaptive functioning as an additional criterion for labeling someone retarded. *IQ is not enough* (emphasis mine). Maybe the same sort of thing should be done for labeling somebody a genius.” Which is exactly what I’ve been saying.

From Wikipedia, “An Intelligence Quotient or IQ is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests attempting to measure intelligence.” Note the use of the word ‘attempting’. This hardly qualifies for certainty.

Again from Wikipedia “While its inheritance has been investigated for nearly a century, controversy remains as to how much is inheritable, and the mechanisms of inheritance are still a matter of some debate.” The reference is links to an article by Devlin B, Daniels M, Roeder K (1997). "The heritability of IQ". Nature. The internal Wiki link goes to the Nature vs. Nurture debate which is, as far as I can see, still undecided. But I'll get to that later...

Again, “A common error is to assume that because something is heritable it is necessarily unchangeable. This is wrong. Heritability does not imply immutability. As previously noted, heritable traits can depend on learning, and they may be subject to other environmental effects as well. The value of heritability can change if the distribution of environments (or genes) in the population is substantially altered.”

And again, “Once thought immutable, recent research suggests that certain mental activities can change the brain's raw ability to process information, leading to the conclusion that intelligence can be altered or changed over time. Studies into the neuroscience of animals indicate that challenging activities can produce changes in gene expression patterns of the brain. (Training Degus to Use Rakes and Iriki's earlier research with macaque monkeys indicating brain changes. Okanoya K, Tokimoto N, Kumazawa N, Hihara S, Iriki A 2008) A study published in April 2008 by a team from the Universities of Michigan and Bern demonstrated the transfer of fluid intelligence from specifically designed working memory training. (Jaeggi SM, Buschkuehl M, Jonides J, Perrig WJ 2008. "Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory").

Here’s a quote from the Wiki article on ‘nature vs nurture’, “It is sometimes a question whether the "trait" being measured is even a real thing. Much energy has been devoted to calculating the heritability of intelligence (usually the I.Q., or intelligence quotient), but there is still some disagreement as to what exactly "intelligence" is.” If this disagreement is valid, then it needs to be considered.

And a quote from the article on ‘Intelligence’, “IQ tests were originally devised specifically to predict educational achievement. The inventors of the IQ did not believe they were measuring fixed intelligence. Despite this, critics argue that intelligence tests have been used to support nativistic theories in which intelligence is viewed as a qualitatively unique faculty with a relatively fixed quantity.” I fall into the second camp.

Understand both bio and econ mentioned the ‘crushing evidence’ from Rushton & Jenson, and the ‘weak’ rebuttal full of ‘ad-homonym’ attacks.

Here’s what I found: Fryer & Levitt (2006) Testing for Racial Differences in the Mental Ability of Young Children "On tests of intelligence, Blacks systematically score worse than Whites, whereas Asians frequently outperform Whites. Some have argued that genetic differences across races account for the gap. Using a newly available nationally representative data set that includes a test of mental function for children aged eight to twelve months, we find only minor racial differences in test outcomes (0.06 standard deviation units in the raw data) between Blacks and Whites that disappear with the inclusion of a limited set of controls. The only statistically significant racial difference is that Asian children score slightly worse than those of other races. To the extent that there are any genetically-driven racial differences in intelligence, these gaps must either emerge after the age of one, or operate along dimensions not captured by this early test of mental cognition."

This hardly qualifies as an ad-homonym attack, and looks credible, not weak. It seems the matter is far from settled, one way or another.

Clancy Blair seems to offer ‘neuroanatomical’ data in his paper “How similar are fluid cognition and general intelligence? A developmental neuroscience perspective on fluid cognition as an aspect of human cognitive ability, Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2006), 29: 109-125 Cambridge University Press, Clancy Blair”

As it turns out Stephan J Gould also countered Jenson (with a greater depth of understanding than me, I'm sure) in ‘The Mismeasure of Man’. And when Jenson responded, he characterized intelligence research to the Model T, i.e., study of intelligence is barely off the ground… which is also what I have stated in my previous posts.

Howard Gardner’s and Robert Sternberg’s various studies appear to allow for the kind of comprehensiveness that I’d suggest is necessary before we pidgin-hole people.

Before Bryan, Murray, Herrnstein, Jenson, or anyone else conclude IQ is immutable and ought to be used to determine educatability and employability, they must account for the legit and credible challenges to this idea.

I’m not saying IQ isn’t important, and I’m not trying to write a thesis. I’m just countering what I perceive is the spurious notion that IQ is paramount and ought to be used to decide how ‘able’ someone is when it comes to things like education and employment, which is then read as ‘societal value’. To repeat one of the quotes above, ‘IQ is not enough’.

Does this solve my 'problem' tim?

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